Remembering Michael Brockman

Michael Brockman — a longtime Westporter, with unique interests and talents — died recently. He was 74 years old.

In the Army, he was a nuclear weapons specialist. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1975.

Michael Brockman

Michael worked as road test editor at Motor Trend Magazine. He began racing professionally in 1979, and competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans.

He went on to work as a film actor and stuntman in “Harry & Son,” “Fat Man And Little Boy” and “Road to Perdition,” among others.

After moving to Connecticut, Michael lived and worked here until his death. He was, most recently, the owner of Mazda of Milford.

Michael’s friend for 30 years, Ian Warburg, writes:

“Brock” was a legendary character. He came to live here because of his best friend and partner in crime, Paul Newman. He stayed because of his marriage to Westport native, Jennifer O’Reilly, and their children, Keleigh and Spencer. Spencer is now a noted race car driver too.

Brock was a class act through and through. A true southern gentleman with a warm heart, an easy smile and always a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Cooler than cool, this humble Florida boy packed his life with fun and adventure that took him to every corner of the globe, and had him raising jars and rubbing elbows with some of the most notable and interesting people of our times.

Michael Brockman (right) and friend.

His stories, and the telling of them, were legendary. Just ask Jack Nicholson. Or everyone who knew him, and was lucky enough to have called him their friend.

He lived a life most men might well have dreamed of, “working” as a professional race car driver, a writer for Motor Trend, an actor, a stuntman, camp counselor at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, and a businessman, owning and operating Connecticut Volvo and Mazda dealerships for the better part of the last 25 years of his life.

He was a great friend to his friends, and a loving husband to his former wife, Jennifer, with whom he enjoyed a warm and caring relationship that extended beyond their run as a married couple.

More than anything he delighted in his role as the father to Keleigh and Spencer, something we often talked about over a cold Budweiser. He revolved around them with absolute joy, celebrating and supporting their dreams and wishes.

With Keleigh he shared his love of acting, and joined her as a cast member of “Blue Bloods” from time to time.

With Spencer he delighted in celebrating his “gift” for making race cars go fast — very, very fast — besting racers with more money and newer technology, and watching him stand on the podium almost every time he raced.

Michael and Spencer Brockman.

And with both he shared his love of so much, including sushi, enjoying weekly feasts as fixtures at the sushi bar at Sakura.

Brock and I got together late summer with another pal, Ian O’Malley, for what would wind up being our last beer at the Black Duck. We had a heck of a good time, raised a little hell, and traded stories and laughs, toasting to the next time we’d be together.  Turns out, it won’t be at the Duck.

Until we meet again, my friend: This Bud’s for you! Cheers.

(A celebration of Michael’s life is set for Sunday, December 8, from 2 to 6 p.m. at his dealership, 915 Boston Post Road in Milford. If you plan to attend, please email brockmaninfo@gmail.com. In lieu of flowers, friends may consider a contribution in Michael’s memory to the Boggy Creek Gang Camp, 30500 Brantley Branch Rd., Eustis, FL, 32736.)

8 responses to “Remembering Michael Brockman

  1. I am, as ian Warburg said, one of those who is “lucky enough” to call Brock my friend. Actually, as i sit here attempting to write this, I’m struggling not to buckle under the sadness of his passing. Knowing Brock, however, I am quite sure that he would not be happy with me getting emotional at this moment. In fact, if anything, he would want me and everyone else to remember him for the person that he has always been: fun-loving, easy-going, kind-hearted; a guy who never took himself too seriously and always thought of others over himself. As next-door neighbors on Riverside Avenue, we saw each other regularly. Made our way to the Black Duck on occasion, met up in Florida (his home state) whenever we were down there at the same time; spoke on the phone regularly; and talked often of fun times yet to come. Without any doubt, Brock was someone you could call any time day or night. We always tried to be there for each other and so….

    When I saw this opportunity to say something special about my good friend, I thought I’d try. As is happens, however, there really are no words to describe him. Who he was and what he represented was far beyond description. Reflecting on the many very close friends who revered Brock, it is clear that he lived according to a simple but solid moral code. From the blue jeans and cowboy boots (and the occasional long-neck Bud in a bottle) to the cars he raced and the people he sought to help, he lived his life in a way that reflected utmost truth, honesty, generosity and loyalty.

    As the father of two fine kids, Brock will live on in and through them. He will also live on in the hearts of everyone, like me, who loved him dearly as a precious and wonderful friend.

  2. Yes, he was all those things, and now he is one more: very much missed.

  3. I’m deeply sorry to here of Brocks Passing … I’ve had many many Wonderful encounters with him during his time in Wesport .. He was just one of those Rare Wonderful Guys , who always took time to speak with you .. May you Rip Brockman .. Your up there with your buddy Paul Newman now , and I’m sure you guys are speaking about racing cars …

  4. Such a kind and generous man, and a life so well-lived. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Michael Brockman’s family and his friends who shared their lives and love with him.

  5. Ronald I. Jacobson, MD

    I only met him twice. But he was instantly friendly, engaging and helpful — largely due to his generous spirit and robust trust and caring shared with our mutual friends in Mark and JOAN.
    Ronald I. Jacobson, MD

  6. Curtis L. Parrish

    Mike was my first cousin, along with his sister Suzanne. I’m older than both of them, so I remember watching them grow up in Orlando. He was always pretty daring; once he hitchhiked from California to Orlando to attend the wedding of another of our cousins. We sort of lost touch when he moved to California and then Connecticut, but I did speak with him a couple of years ago.I was shocked to learn of his passing. My condolences to his wife Jennifer, daughter Keleigh and son Spencer. He will be surely missed.

  7. Even though I had not talked to Mike from about the time he got married and started his family, I am sad to hear about his passing. I knew him through racing but he also lived close to me for a period of time in Sherman Oaks. He even introduced me to my first time eating sushi.He was so genuine and full of life, I think that is what made his celebrity friends feel so comfortable with him even though he did not come from their circle. So, I am glad he crossed my path and was a friend. A life well lived Michael, I am sure you gave your daughter and son a great start in life. Maybe I will run across his son Spencer one day through racing and be able to share stories about his dad. Joe Cavaglieri

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